Jay is a Quiet Man

Jay is a quiet man—seemingly angry.  He stands about 5’8”, weighs about 150/lbs—and has a very dark complexion. My guess is that Jay is Filipino or Polynesian.  His eyes are always blood-shot—but not the “i’m stoned” sort of blood-shot—more like the “I’m an exhausted over-analyzer” sort of blood-shot.  I look at him during each group meeting—and feel a wave of sadness crash through my heart…he seems so alone.

I can relate to the blank stare that occupies his face during the group meetings—I think every alcoholic goes through a period of depression and resents every person that seems happy.  The resentment really derives from wanting to be happy too.  I have learned in the group meetings that you have to earn your happiness through being consistent—consistency creates a sense of pride and accomplishment that we all lost within the haze of alcoholism.  When Jay speaks—he is very abrupt and to the point…at times he loses his train of thought mid-sentence and his frustration becomes apparent.  I want to stand up and give him a hug—say “you’re not alone, Jay.”

I see the good in Jay even-though he may not see it right now.  I see a hopeful, not hopeless man—and I want to reach out because our group in many ways is a family…I am his brother.  I went twelve weeks without talking to Jay—I could sense that he wasn’t ready to open up to me.  However, last night as I was walking to the group meeting—I saw him standing at the cross-walk waiting for the street-light to give permission to cross.  Jay and I looked at each-other, said hello and did the usual group greeting, which is a quick hand-shake followed by a hug.  Funny, a bunch of self-proclaimed “tough guys” hugging each-other…never thought I would find that so comforting.

Jay and I talked for a bit before the meeting.  He indicated that he was “beside himself psychologically,” and was having a very tough day.  I could tell that his thoughts were swirling around in circles with no true destination or purpose—just a bunch of random worries creating internal chaos.  I listened to Jay—because some-times you just have to shut the fuck up and be a good listener to those you know are having it rough at the moment.  I saw Jay smile—and it made me smile too.  Jay asked me for my number—us guys in the group meetings call each-other a lot for support, and I was honored that Jay trusted me enough to be one of his support systems.

After the group meeting—I gave Jay the quick hand-shake and hug, and told him “you’re not alone—it’s ok to have tough days—lets’ just focus on having more good, then bad ones.”

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